Wow, some time has passed since I was last here! Guess I better start getting typing again, though it's always difficult to know exactly where to start. So I'll start with a phrase we always got when visiting a certain grandmother 3-4 times a year;
"So, what's new?"
Probably one of the most significant improvements in my life is that DSL is finally available in my area and at a discounted price since I was using AT&T for my dial-up. This is a nice bonus because the price I was paying for dial-up was the same as the full price of DSL at this speed so I am actually saving money (for now)!
The dangerous thing about the DSL though is that it is too easy to download distributions of Linux, to lose track of time watching YouTubes or some online game or other! Many nights I've dragged myself to bed a wee bit later than I should have (considering I have to get up for work a few hours later!)
The only thing missing at this point is a wireless router so I can use the laptop while in bed! That actually will work two-fold; I can surf and do whatever I want on the Internet and if I don't have it plugged in I have a natural limiter to keep me from staying up too late.. the battery!
I think when I left off I was fooling around with a low-memory laptop I just got SuSE 9.x installed and was amazed how well it worked. Since that time I have luckily acquired some more up-to-date hardware to run things on.
Now, instead of trying to get the low-memory laptop running (anything) I actually have 4 different distribution, version or operating system between the two laptop hard drives I keep swapping back-and-forth.
- Ubuntu 8.04 LTS (Hardy Heron)
- Kubuntu 8.04 KDE4 remix (Hardy Heron)
- openSUSE 10.2 (Gnome)
- Windows XP
I was about to see about replacing the Kubuntu partition with CentOS since the computer club seems to be primarily CentOS, Ubuntu and Kubuntu with a few odds and ends such as Xandros on an EeePC, Fedora on a OLPC laptop, etc.
So I took a moment to poke around the CentOS forum and refamiliarize myself to CentOS. I was suprised when I ran across a thread where somebody was asking about an issue they had and was basically lambasted! His issue was never once addressed and he was directed to their guidelines on not making dumb posts! Yeesh, like that's helpful!!
Rereading the thread afterwards I can see where the others got a little snippy but that still doesn't warrant their responses, they should have just ignored it and continued along.
Either way, though, it has made me think twice about installing and taking the time to set up a CentOS partition to make it useful to me while allowing me to address problems people may have more directly. Forgot how not all forums are civil and professonal.
Eventually I'll check back and see if it is a reoccurrence or a one time issue.
I have been wanting to set up a server at home to centralize some files, use for backing up systems and developing web applications. I also want to include Parental control restrictions and logging before even introducing the kids to the Internet. Maybe someday I'll use it for email but I'm not rushing into that.
My first attempt was openSUSE 10.3 which wasn't bad (looked really good on my 20" wide screen). I had a lot of trouble getting it to work consistently with Samba, but now I think the issue was more of a combination of 2 things
- Yast2 provides a very easy way to manage all aspects of the system. Almost too easy.
- I hadn't a clue what I was doing or should have expected
(combine this with #1 above and you can see the trouble I can get into)
Before realizing this, though, I moved to CentOS with better success. Still wasn't 100% consistent, but much better. The biggest problem I kept running across was I could see the shared directories one moment, and then they were gone the next! There was no way I could map a drive from Windows XP to the shared directories! I know the primary Windows user (my wife) would get very frustrated and that turns into a phone call during work or a refusal to use the computer (thus less willingness to let me spend any money on the computer because she'll see no value in the computer in the first place).
Finally I tried Ubuntu Server 8.04 LTS. When it was done I was a little bit surprised to find myself at the command prompt, which meant I was going to have to look around some to figure out what to do next.
Luckily I ran across a website called HowToForge, which includes a number of well written tutorials on doing various activities with different distributions of Linux. I found just what I needed to get Samba running well on the system and found it working very nicely.
So between using Samba for files and SSH for working the system the server is started!
My biggest limitation for the server right now is that the computers are hooked up by an unmanaged switch, which means when the server is on it is connected to the Internet and so my shared Samba folders may be exposed to the outside world. For this reason I only have it on sparingly until I can get a wireless router with a hardware firewall to be the first line of defense. Then I can work on locking things down as necessary.
So I have enough things going on to keep me busy for a while; setting up the laptop, configuring the server, blogging, computer club presentations, exploratory developing/programming, etc.